- The Annotated Bibliography of Canada's Major Authors: Volume One ed. by Robert Lecker, Jack David, and: Register of the Frederick Philip Grove Collection ed. by Deborah Raths (review)
- University of Toronto Quarterly
- University of Toronto Press
- Volume 50, Number 4, Summer 1981
- pp. 155-156
- View Citation
- Additional Information
Robert Lecker and Jack David, editors. The Annotated Bibliography of Canada's Major Authors: Volume One ECW Press (York University) '979· 263. $19·95 cloth, $12.95 paper Deborah Raths, compiler. Register of the Frederick Philip Grove Collection Department of Archives and Rare Books, University of Manitoba Libraries '979. 65. $3.00 paper The flowering of Canadian literature in the last few decades has resulted in a growing need for convenient and reliable bibliographical aids. I am not, of course, advocating more books designed primarily for bibliophiles or bibliomaniacs; I am merely pointing out that serious literary students need to consult all the available works of the writers in whom they are interested, and up to the present this has not been easy in the case of Canadian authors. The locating of manuscript material has been another related problem. But the last few months have seen the appearance of both the first volume in the ECW Press's Annotated Bibliography ofCanada's Major Authors series and a guide to the rich University of Manitoba holdings of a prominent Canadian novelist. Here is more evidence that Canadian literature is at last being taken seriously, and the two works should be welcomed for that reason alone. In the case of the ECW bibliography, there is much much more to welcome. First of all, it is the initial publication in what is desc.ibed as 'an ongoing, multi-volume series.' It contains sections on Margaret Atwood (prose only; her poetry is to be treated in a later volume), Margaret Laurence, Hugh MacLennan, Mordecai Richler, and Gabrielle Roy. Another 45 subjects are scheduled for subsequent treatment, though there are some distinguished names omitted from the list that one hopes will be added eventually. Moreover, the bibliographies are senSibly planned, conveniently cross-referenced, and easy to use. Listings include not only the information one would expect (books, manuscripts, contributions to periodicals, etc) but generously annotated accounts of secondary sources, theses, and selected book reviews. Inevitably, in both the annotations and the selection a subjective element enters, but the compilers succeed in giving a succinct and informative digest of the material (I particularly liked the following: 'A simplistic review which describes Surfacing as a woman's book.' What more does the consulting scholar need to know?). To review a bibliography adequately is a thankless, perhaps impossible task. I could pedantically search for omissions (the only one I noted, with regret, was that John Baxter's article on The Stone Angel in the first issue of The Compass had somehow slipped through the net), brood upon oddities (why is an article by Robertson Davies on MacLennan listed and 156 LEITERS IN CANADA 1980 annotated twice?), keep an eye skinned for typographical errors (remarkably few, I suspect, for a work of this size and scope), or wonder darkly about the effect on Richler's literary reputation of including all his slickly titled contributions to popular journalism. But no, that kind of review would be inappropriate. Instead, all that is necessary is to congratulate everyone concerned on the launching of a dauntingly ambitious project that promises to become an indispensable tool for Canadian literary studies. When one notes that ECW is planning a complementary series (even larger in scope) making up a vast critical history of Canadian literature under the overall title Canadian Writers and Their Work, one can only wonder at this press's energy and confidence (no sign of cutbacks here) and wish it all possible success. Anyone interested in Frederick Philip Grove will be pleased to hear that the Registerofthe Frederick Philip Collection in the Elizabeth Dafoe Library is now available from the University of Manitoba. Since much of Grove's work is still unpublished, a checklist of this kind is more than usually welcome. Unfortunately, however, it is repetitious, badly written, awkwardly arranged, and carelessly edited. For instance, a chronology of important dates is followed by a biographical sketch that writes up the same information in the empty prose we have come to expect from not-very-promising undergraduates ('Much has been written of this man and much more will be written in the years to come because of the power of his writings, their...